Community helping after iconic London restaurant destroyed by large fire

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LONDON, Ky. (WKYT) - The family that operates a popular Laurel County restaurant that was destroyed by fire says they will rebuild.

Weaver's Hot Dogs and Bob's Ready to Wear have stood right next to each other for more than 60 years in London. The Monday morning fire put the restaurant and the store out of business.

"I was devastated. Devastated for the people. For the families, for the city because it's a vital business in downtown London," Kathy Stansberry, the owner of Traveltime, said.

"Everyone is devastated. My sister and brother-in-law. They sunk their life into it. We are still in shock," said Kevin Joseph, whose family ran the restaurant.

Weaver's has been celebrated for its chili dogs since 1940 and as it became hugely successful, people say it became a part of London's identity. Joseph says people loved the restaurant's hot dogs, but they cherished the conversations that struck up.

"Everyone came to eat here. A group of old guys every morning to eat. Shoot the bull," Joseph said.

There's no word on a cause but Joseph says they've been told it started in the back near a new kitchen. Nearly everything inside was destroyed including its history that lined the walls.

"It was all the pictures. Pictures of everyone's family," he says of the numerous pictures of families, sports teams and others that lined the wall of the establishment.

Joseph says 25 people worked there. Joseph says they will rebuild, and they say it is very important that the business stay on Main Street in London.

Bob's Ready to Wear was also damaged in the fire and is also closed. The owner lived above the store. The owner of Bob's has not decided what to do next.

The owners for both businesses are on the London City Council. Monday night's meeting was postponed out of respect.

"I know they'll be right back with us helping run this city," London's Mayor, Troy Rudder, said.

Mayor Troy Rudder says the city will jump in to help the owners with whatever they need.

Allison Stansbury, owner of Posh Boutique in London, plans to donate a portion of her sales Thursday and Friday this week to help employees from both businesses.

"It took a toll on me. It's weird seeing a well known place go down like that," Stansbury said.

Ownership at Weaver's and Bob's are both waiting to hear from their insurance companies. They say they can't believe what happened but are grateful for all the support they've received.

"They are a part of our family. They are in trouble and we are here to help," Mayor Rudder said.

Donations started pouring in for the 25 employees who lost their jobs. As of Tuesday morning, around $980 had been raised on a Go Fund Me page.

Photo taken by Unsung Hero Productions

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